Preview – Ralph Peters “Cain at Gettysburg”

17 04 2012

Forge sent me a copy of Ralph Peters’s Cain at Gettysburg, a novel of the Civil War. Please, please, please don’t take this to mean I will make any kind of habit of previewing novels. I won’t – I don’t have the time or inclination. This is an exception. I’m about a quarter of the way done with this. It’s a really well written novel – the characters have a lot of depth, and the whole work is more nuanced – and down & dirty – than The Killer Angels (which I think of more as a YA book). By merit, and based solely on what I’ve read so far, Cain should supplant Angels at the top of the Civil War novel heap, but I think the Electric Map lovers out there will cling desperately to the latter book for a long while. So far I’m very pleased, particularly with his decision to focus much of the book on 11th Corps. However, this is a novel; novels need certain character types that are black or white, and Cain is no exception to this rule. So far, though he’s not yet appeared in the book, it looks like Oliver Otis Howard is being set up as a black hat type. I can’t say that I agree with how Peters is molding Howard so far, as I think it flies in the face of evidence so far as his character goes. But this depiction of O. O. is conventional and comfortable to most, and I realize I’m in the minority with my thoughts on him (most people can’t get past an emotional – even irrational – approach to Howard, which I think says more about the analyst than the analyzed). I’m willing to set such things aside when reading a novel, particularly a good one, which Cain certainly is. I’ll post a fuller review when I’ve finished.

FYI, Peters is a retired U. S. Army officer, journalist, and TV talking head on military and intelligence matters. As reader Jeffry Burden reminds me, Peters is also the author of the Abel Jones series of Civil War detective novels, under the pen name of Owen Parry.





Preview: A Package from Ten Roads Publishing

3 03 2012

A recent trip to Gettysburg garnered me a couple of books from Ten Roads Publishing courtesy of co-owner Jim Glessner. Both were penned by Gettysburg Licensed Battlefield Guide John Archer.

Ten Roads has reprinted and updated Archer’s 2002 guidebook Culp’s Hill at Gettysburg: “The Mountains Trembled…” The updates are primarily new photos and maps where necessary to show the ground as it is today – there has been a lot of tree clearing on Culp’s Hill. Also, the perspectives of some photos have been changed. So, even if you have a copy of the 2002 edition, if you’re headed out to the field you may want to pick up this updated version to further enhance the experience.

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The second book (and don’t get too used to seeing novel previews here) is Archer’s After the Rain: A Novel of War and Coming Home. It’s the story of Captain Daniel Spencer, a Pennsylvania Yankee soldier who, having served through Fredericksburg, and damaged physically and mentally, returns to his mountainside home near Gettysburg. Trouble follows, not just in his difficulties readjusting to civilian and family life, bt also in the form of an invading Rebel army. In the wake of the battle there, Daniel sets off to look for his missing sister-in-law in Gettysburg, where he’s forced to face the demons of his past in several forms. Jim told me that Archer’s book was on the shortlist for the 2011 Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction. Considering the four other titles on that list were published by Knopf, Viking, HarperCollins, and Random House, I think both Mr. Archer and Ten Roads should be justifiably proud of the Director’s Mention placing of After the Rain.





Preview: Eric Wittenberg’s “Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions”

21 11 2011

Savas Beatie has revamped and updated Eric Wittenberg’s Gettysburg’s Forgotten Cavalry Actions (originally released in 1998 by Thomas Publications). In addition to coverage of the cavalry activities of July 3, 1863 from the original edition, you’ll find updates to Farnsworth’s Charge and Fairfield, new illustrations and replacements of older ones to show the effects of tree clearing, a new map, a walking and driving tour, and an essay that addresses an alternate interpretation of Farnsworth’s Charge that was put forth subsequently by another historian after the first edition was published.

So even if you have the original, check this one out – lots of new stuff.





New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook Trailer

2 09 2011





The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook

9 08 2011

Now available from Savas Beatie is The New Gettysburg Campaign Handbook, by J. D. Petruzzi and Steve Stanley. This short (184 page) paperback is packed with photos and maps and plenty of quick info on the campaign and the people involved. Nothing too deep, this is a good quick and dirty guide for vets and beginners alike, and perfect for tossing in the backpack for a day in the field.





Allen Guelzo’s Take on Meade

3 07 2011

Photo from my seat during the presentation

OK, I’m back from my gigs in Gettysburg. I’ll post more about them later. Right now I want to provide a link to a talk given on Friday, July 1, by Prof. Allen Guelzo as part of the Gettysburg Foundation’s Sacred Trust speaker’s series, the same program on which I spoke the following day. You may find Guelzo’s take on Goerge Gordon Meade interesting, if not controversial. I disagree with it wholeheartedly, but it’s worth a listen. The talk was recorded by the Weider History Group and is posted on their History.net website in multiple parts. Here’s the first:

The rest can be found here:

http://www.historynet.com/who-was-george-g-meade.htm?tubepress_page=1





PCN TV Programming for Gettysburg Anniversary Battlewalks

23 06 2011

I received this from Rick Cochran at PCN-TV. Good news for non-Pennsylvania residents with a Gettysburg fetish. Paying $24.99 for three days of tours and recording them is a lot cheaper than buying individual DVDs for each tour. Follow the link to see the schedule.

CIVIL WAR BATTLEFIELD TOURS TO BE AVAILABLE ONLINE OVER JULY 1, 2, and 3

Each year on the anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) teams up with the Gettysburg Military Park to present televised “Battlewalks” led by Rangers and Licensed Guides. These walking tours, airing since 1996, delve into the tactics and influences of the battles as our cameras follow tour guides around the various Gettysburg areas.

In the past, these Battlewalks have only been available to television viewers in Pennsylvania through PCN. This year, for the first time, the network will offer each day’s programming through a pay streaming site partner – www.livesportsvideo.com – so that those who cannot get PCN can enjoy the programs. For just $9.99 per day (or $24.99 for the three-day package) viewers will enjoy encore presentations leading up to new programs each evening at 6:00 p.m. (Eastern Time). These new Battlewalks will hit the internet and PCN just hours after they take place and you will be one of the first people to see them.

PCN’s Gettysburg Battlewalks are geared toward viewers with a deep interest in the Civil War. They are extremely popular with enthusiasts all over the world who have added the DVDs to their collections. A full selection is available at www.pcnstore.com. To learn more about our Civil War coverage, visit www.pcntv.com/shows_gettysburg.html. PCN is a non-profit television network that receives no state or federal funding. Revenue generated from DVD or streaming sales helps to fund additional education programs like the Gettysburg Battlewalks.








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